Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
LCQ15: Shattered glass panes of bus door incidents

     Following is a question by the Hon Christopher Chung and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (March 16):


     In February this year, two incidents occurred one after another in which a glass pane of an exit door of a bus in motion shattered, allegedly after being hit by a passenger who had lost balance while getting ready to get off.  One of the passengers even fell out of the bus through an opening which emerged after the glass pane had shattered, and suffered serious injuries as his head had hit the ground.  Some members of the public have relayed to me that as they frequently take the bus, the two aforesaid incidents have made them worry about the safety of taking buses.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) whether it knows the respective models, manufacturers and the origins of manufacture of the buses involved in the two aforesaid incidents; whether the relevant glass panes of the doors were assembled by the original manufacturers or were replacements; if the latter is the case, of the suppliers and the origins of manufacture of the relevant glass panes;

(2) regarding the existing bus fleets under various franchised bus companies in Hong Kong, whether it knows (i) the models and (ii) the origins of manufacture of the buses, as well as (iii) the origins of manufacture of the glass panes of bus doors;

(3) whether the Transport Department (TD), in conducting type approvals for new buses at present, tests the quality and impact resistance of the glass panes of bus doors; whether franchised bus companies are required to obtain prior approval from TD for replacing the glass panes produced by the original manufacturers with those which were not;

(4) given that TD, the franchised bus company and the bus manufacturers involved in the two aforesaid incidents have set up a working group to look into the safety of bus doors and to put forward improvement proposals, of the progress of the relevant work; whether the glass panes of the doors and the window panes of the buses involved in the two aforesaid incidents were respectively produced by the same manufacturer(s); if so, whether TD will request the various franchised bus companies to inspect the window panes of buses as well during their inspection of the glass panes of bus doors; and

(5) whether TD will make it mandatory for the various franchised bus companies to retrofit guard rails on their bus doors, so as to avoid the recurrence of the incident of passenger falling out of a bus through the opening which emerges after the shattering of a glass pane of a bus door?



     The Government has all along been attaching great importance to the operational safety of franchised buses.  My consolidated reply to the various parts of the Hon Christopher Chung's question is as follows.

     Under the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap. 374) (the Ordinance), every new model of buses, like any other vehicles, has to be type approved by the Transport Department (TD).  Also, each bus has to undergo TD's pre-registration examination before it can run on the road.  The Specification of Safety Glass Notice (Cap. 374H), a subsidiary legislation made under the Ordinance, stipulates that the glass used in a motor vehicle, including a bus, shall be glass that meet the relevant requirements of Economic Commission of Europe Regulation (ECE 43) (ECE standards).  Specifically, the glass that conforms to ECE standards has to pass a ball-impact test (i.e. the glass can sustain the impact of a hard object with a mass of 0.227 kg from a drop height of 2.5 m and should not be brittle and cracked) and a fragmentation test (i.e. the glass will be broken into small pieces and the ends of the fragments will not be knife-edged).  Every glass pane that conforms to ECE standards is imprinted with a permanent marking to facilitate clear identification and inspection.

     The five franchised bus companies in Hong Kong have a total of about 5 800 buses of around 50 models.  Major bus manufacturers include Alexander Dennis, Volvo, Neoplan, MAN, Scania, and Youngman.  The most common place of manufacturing is Europe.  Franchised bus companies have to provide TD with information on model and place of manufacturing for a new bus to be registered.  Meanwhile, information on the place of manufacturing of the individual parts, including glass panes of doors, does not have to be provided to TD.  This notwithstanding, the glass panes of doors are mostly manufactured in Europe according to information provided by franchised bus companies.  Replacement of glass panes used on a bus by franchised bus companies is part of the routine maintenance work and TD's approval is not necessary.  Nevertheless, as mentioned above, the glass used on a bus must meet the ECE standards as required by law.  This applies to a glass pane being an original part or a replacement, and is regardless of its place of manufacturing.  TD will check the glass panes used on a bus for permanent marking of compliance with ECE standards during the annual and routine random inspections.

     Regarding the two incidents occurred in this February involving shattered glass panes of the doors of buses of the Kowloon Motor Bus Company (1933) limited (KMB), the two buses involved served routes 5X and 219X respectively.  Investigation of the two incidents is underway.  The bus which served route 5X was a 6-year-old 10.6-meter Scania Caetano single-decked bus.  The bus which served route 219X was a 15-year-old 12-meter Alexander Dennis Trident double-decked bus.  Both buses were manufactured in Europe.  The former was assembled in the manufacturer's plant in Portugal while the latter was assembled in the manufacturer's plant in Hong Kong.  The doors (including the glass panes) of the two buses were made in the United Kingdom by the same manufacturer.  The glass panes of the doors are original parts, and they are of the same age as that of the respective buses.

     In view of the two incidents, TD and franchised bus companies have implemented the following four measures to further safeguard the safety of passengers:

(a) After the incidents, TD has immediately inspected the doors of all buses plying routes 5X and 219X to see if the doors are functioning properly and ascertain if there are signs of structural damage and cracks on the glass panes.  In response to TD's request, KMB has also conducted inspection of all of its 228 buses which are of the same models as the two buses concerned.   The two inspection exercises have been completed with no abnormalities identified.  Regarding the glass of the windows, bus manufacturers have indicated that the glass panes of doors and those of windows are in general not supplied by the same company.  Same as the glass of doors, the law has required that the glass of windows must meet the ECE standards.  Although there is a marking of compliance with ECE standards on the glass panes of the doors of the buses involved in the incidents, TD is studying the possibility of engaging an expert(s) to carry out tests in Hong Kong on the quality of the glass of the doors concerned to further look into the causes of the incidents.

(b) TD has set up a working group with representatives from franchised bus companies and bus manufacturers to review the safety of bus doors and follow up on measures to enhance safety.  The working group held its first meeting in mid-February.  Noting that bus doors opening inwards have already been fitted with handles, the working group is of the view that franchised bus companies and bus manufacturers should actively explore the addition of horizontal bars on doors opening outwards to give added protection to passengers.  Pending the confirmation of technical feasibility by bus manufacturers and bus door manufacturers, franchised bus companies will work out the timetable for the retrofit works.

(c) Franchised bus companies have enhanced the training for their bus captains.  Among other things, bus captains are reminded to control bus speed properly having regard to road conditions, avoid sudden braking and abrupt turning of the steering wheel, reduce bus speed well ahead of turning and select the proper carriage lane, as well as not to move forward until they are certain that the road ahead is safe and clear.  Bus captains are also reminded to make use of the rear view mirror and video recording device on board more often to keep in view the situation in the bus compartment, and not to start the bus until all passengers have finished embarking and alighting the bus, held the handrail or sat down properly so as to avoid accidents.

(d) The Government and franchised bus companies will continue to remind passengers to hold the handrail by announcements of public interests on television as well as on-bus sound clips and video in order to enhance the public's awareness of safety when taking the bus.

     TD will continue to proactively follow up on the investigation of the two incidents.  It will also work with franchised bus companies through the working group on the various improvement measures with a view to safeguarding passenger safety.

Ends/Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Issued at HKT 15:16


Print this page